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NASA Cancels "Sunjammer" Solar Sail Demonstration Mission

smaddox Re: Fame deserved it (74 comments)

What was the detector? 24 wafers isn't as absured as it may sound, for a one off prototype. Developeding a high yield process takes a lot of time and money, especially if it's a relatively new material system.

2 days ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

smaddox Re:wow (565 comments)

Not with an efficiency at or above unity. Hence, no.

Do the math.

about a week ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

smaddox Re:Of course! (565 comments)

Yes, water shields alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. That's why radioactive waste is stored in water.

Fusion is not fission. One results in helium and some neutrons, a tiny fraction of which will be captured by the containment vessel. The other results in the generation of tons of radioactive waste every year. Although, even fission reactors could be made to be far more safe and to generate far less waste, using Gen 3 and Gen 4 designs.

There's likely more radioactive carbon released by the burning of coal than radioactive waste that would be generated by the equivalent fusion power source (if and when fusion becomes economically viable).

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

smaddox Re:Are you patenting software? (224 comments)

Or you could publish the method/algorithm in a journal. Nothing already published qualifies for a patent. Having your name on (high quality) journal articles also can't hurt your job prospects.

about a week ago
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Oculus Hiring Programmers, Hardware Engineers, and More For VR Research Division

smaddox Re:oh great (16 comments)

Yeah, another good example Bell Labs. What ever came out of there? /sarcasm

about two weeks ago
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Physicists Observe the Majorana Fermion, Which Is Its Own Antiparticle

smaddox Re: Well that's random (99 comments)

First, this really is one of the most promising qubits, although possibly not using this material system. Their resilience to first-order scattering processes has the potential to make them far more to robust to decoherence. Second, true quantum computing (as apposed to quantum cryptography) is unlikely to ever work at room temperature. That does not, however, imply it won't be an important tool for research. Super computers already require large buildings to house them. A quantum super computer would be far more efficient as certain tasks.

As far as the summary/article goes, this journalist is clearly confused. This isn't a fundamental particle, its a "quasi-particle", which is a fancy word for an ensemble property. Phonons, for example, are a quasi-particle used to model quantization of crystal lattice vibrations.

about three weeks ago
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When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

smaddox Re:Doesn't scale well (175 comments)

Until a blight decimates the monoculture, and we all freeze to death.

about three weeks ago
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New Graphene Research Promises Reliable Chip-Level Production

smaddox Re:Article written by clueless PR bots (26 comments)

It is difficult to imagine how graphene could replace silicon CMOS when the best lab MOSFETs can't even compete with mass produced Si MOSFETs. High mobility doesn't matter when the off-state leakage current is a couple orders of magnitude higher than in Si. There are interesting theoretical proposals for bi-layer graphene switches which could compete (e.g. BiSFET), but no experimental demonstration that I'm aware of.

about three weeks ago
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New Graphene Research Promises Reliable Chip-Level Production

smaddox Re:Article written by clueless PR bots (26 comments)

Graphene exhibits very high thermal conductivity in plane, but that doesn't help much with getting heat out of a chip, into a heat-sink and then into the air.

Graphene as a switch makes very little since (the lack of a bandgap leads to high leakage/poor modulation depth), but there is a chance it will replace or augment metallization in silicon chips. The push to smaller metallization lines has caused several reliability issues which are still not completely solved. Graphene has shown some promise in this area.

about three weeks ago
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John Carmack's Oculus Connect Keynote Probably Had Samsung Cringing

smaddox Re:What, no positional tracking? (88 comments)

Oculus's software uses a ball-stick model of the head, so that turning also produces a translation. Don't knock it till you've tried it (I'm assuming here you haven't tried it), they've almost completely solved the nausea problem, even for sensitive people.

about a month ago
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Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

smaddox Re:Test string here: (399 comments)

Just installed homebrew's bash, and it's still showing as vulnerable:

$ /usr/local/bin/bash
$ env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c "echo this is a test"
vulnerable
this is a test

What am I doing wrong?

about a month ago
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Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

smaddox Re:Missing in windows? (399 comments)

How could this be used to remotely exploit a CGI-running Apache server? The exploiter would have to have access to the command line or write access to a CGI script, and then why use the exploit in the first place?

about a month ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

smaddox Re:Early islamic society did well in math/science (981 comments)

Don't confuse the more ancient tribal and pagan customs and beliefs of the people in the region with islam. The former is often falsely attributed to islam. Islam, like christianity, did not completely displace nor eradicate some of the old tribal/pagan stuff. Some, but not all, of the crazier stuff comes from the tribal/pagan days.

This seems a bit like a No True Scotsman fallacy. As far as I understand, ISIS is simply implementing their interpretation of the Koran. If that's not Islam, what is? That interpretation just happens to be atrocious to people and societies that value individual freedom.

about a month ago
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NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

smaddox Re:I hate to be this guy... (188 comments)

I think he probably knew that, considering he said,

The developing world is in a far better state than it was in 1950, which seems to be a low point for what was at the time, the Third World.

Then again, I could be wrong.

about a month ago
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NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

smaddox Re:I hate to be this guy... (188 comments)

People don't generally starve to death outside of conflict areas. If you want to end world hunger, you need to solve regional politics.

about a month ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

smaddox Re:Down the Drain (368 comments)

For $2 billion? 20 years of current revenue? For a video game? Sounds pretty brilliant to me.

about a month and a half ago
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First US Appeals Court Hears Arguments To Shut Down NSA Database

smaddox Re:Congress may pass NO law... (199 comments)

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

about a month and a half ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

smaddox Re:Public cynicism about fusion (147 comments)

Why do you think that? What's so amazing about fusion that makes it so much better than every other technological achievement in history? Sure, it would solve all our energy problems for about a thousand years, at which point we would have burned through most of the available fuel because, having no incentive for efficiency, we would have wasted most of it. (Yes, I'm cynical about humanity.) But solar energy is equally capable of solving all our energy problems. And unlike fusion, it's a real technology that actually works today.

Tritium can be bread from lithium in a working fusion reactor, which is extremely abundant, and the deuterium present in the oceans is enough to last us hundreds of thousands of years.

about 2 months ago
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Princeton Nuclear Fusion Reactor Will Run Again

smaddox Re:First powered flight was half a mile (147 comments)

That article seems to suggest that the evidence for Whitehead demonstrating the first powered flight is dubious at best. If Whitehead really did succeed first, why didn't he snatch up any of the government contracts being offered at the time?

about 2 months ago

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